Call for papers: AIMS Workshop on Linking Public Opinion and Political Action
May 30 – June 1, 2015 – Tunis, Tunisia
We invite applications for the 2015 Annual Conference of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies to be held May 30 – June 1, 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia. This year the conference will be a workshop on the theme of “Linking Public Opinion and Political Action.” The workshop aims to strengthen our understanding of the link between public opinion, elite behavior and outcomes.
There is often a gap between public attitudes and political outcomes. For instance, public opinion surveys show widespread support for democracy in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya, but this support has not translated into smooth transition processes toward democracy. Similar gaps are found with regard to service provision, foreign policy and other outcomes, and the distance between preferences and outcomes varies across time, between countries and sub-regionally. There are several potential explanations for these gaps. It may be that elites remain unaware of public sentiment even when relevant polls exist, or they distrust the information that reaches them. It may also be that some segments of the public are more relevant than others, and elites respond to their interests. Or, potentially, that pressure from those with political connections or other competing interests overrides public concerns – at least in some places, at some times.